It is very hard for an introverted bookworm to converse all day with four little kids. Add on church activities, soccer, extended family, volunteering, and great friends, and eventually you start to feel like nothing’s left.
A couple months ago, things got hard. Nothing in particular: just kitchen reno’s, twice a week swimming lessons, homeschooling, a huge fundraiser and four kids. Living in a state of chaos as a result of the kitchen overhaul was really hard. Hammers, two year olds and paint do not mix. We would work in the kitchen after the kids went to bed until even later, resulting in 14-18 hour days, that were noisy from get up to go down. The sweeping, washing and drywall dust just didn’t go away.
By the time life started to slow down, we had developed some habits. You know, ignoring small issues until they became full blown fights between the kids, not bothering to hide irritation at a request for juice, and just generally being inconvenienced by life in general.
In times of chaos, rest is paramount. Whether for a few stolen moments, or a night. But what we do in our rest times determines how we deal with the busy times.
After weeks of chores not being completed, kids squabbling, cleaning up clothes off the floor AGAIN, I got grumpy. Miserable. My hubby even left work one day to send me to a hotel all by myself. That’s when I realized how badly I need real rest.
Often times, when the kids are occupied, I check Facebook, emails. Clean up the kitchen. Call a friend. It is a lazy way of wasting time, rather than being recharged, rejuvenated, rested.
So what genuinely brings rest to the weary?
Time with my Father
This is paramount, and too often overlooked. Reading even a verse or two, or listening to a worship song, anything to center my thoughts on Kingdom goals and not my goals.
Just with a cup of tea, looking outside, or especially, BEING outside.
Taking a Walk
I need to do this more. My friend swears by it for mental health purposes. Her mom’s a psychologist and recommends it for everyone. I’m always “too tired,” but when I do it, I instantly feel better.
I love looking at the crafts that pioneer women made. The quilts, the stitching- everything was so well done and exquisitely made. And they didn’t have dishwashers, washing machines, wet wipes and store bought butter. How did they have time to discover hobbies and crafts? They made time. Every day, not for “hours,” but for an hour. I don’t have time, you know, because I watch TV. Tonight I am in a hotel all by myself (Mother’s Day gift!) and I WILL learn to crochet before I leave.
Facebook is not reading. Somehow in the back of my head, I must think that it is. I love reading, and I never make time for it. Even if I just read a couple pages, it is something that I like and that doesn’t exhaust me.
Oh do I love to write. And journal. And just put the things in my head to paper, so that they might be out and not swimming inside anymore.
There’s just nothing like it. All year long. Let me have a bath, without someone “helping” me with the shaving cream. Yes, apparently, that’s a thing.
Now, I’ll need to be extra intentional about finding that rest. I love keeping up with people, going on Facebook, chatting on the phone. And there’s nothing wrong with any of it- other than in busy times, something has to go. If it’s not essential, sucks up time and leaves me depleted, I need to put it away for a bit. There will always be time to find out what I’ve missed.
Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Don’t come halfway, then look at your phone, and expect to feel better. (Loosely adapted from Matthew 11:28)
What do you do to find rest? What doesn’t work? Maybe you’re like many I know, who find rest in good conversation and an evening out. Or maybe you’re a talkative introvert like me. I’d love to hear from you!